The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester, State House Dome column
|By Garry Rayno, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
We are about to enter either crunch time, or the world series of lawmaking, depending on your perspective.
All of them are orchestrated by two opposing corners on the third floor of the State House, the
Differences can be resolved in a quick walk between the offices, but sometimes it takes days to get from one side of the building to the other.
One thing to remember is that anything can happen. Bills once thought dead are miraculously resurrected, and sure things can become just paper in the trash.
All the cards are on the table, although most of the time the numbers and suits are invisible. Often, a half-dozen bills are intertwined not by subject matter, but strategically so one bill won't move forward without agreement on the others attached.
Everyone knows the most important conference committee this year will be the Medicaid Enhancement Tax.
If all goes as planned, there will be a joint conference committee on Senate Bill 369 and House Bill 1613.
The House bill has been amended to include the
At the same time, the plan would boost reimbursement rates for
The House version would clarify lawmakers' intent to use the MET revenue for health care programs and eliminate a provision allowing the money to go into the general fund.
The two-step House plan would also expand the tax base to include other health care providers beyond hospitals -- if the
That's not a lot of common ground.
If it did, that would leave only the House bill and the
A House bill in conference would have a House member as chairman. That person calls the meetings and sets the agenda. If it is a
Those little details are taken into consideration by the
Another bill lawmakers may negotiate is House Bill 253, which would terminate the parental rights of a rapist who pleads guilty or no contest to sexual assault, or after a court finds the child was conceived during a rape.
The bill has bipartisan support across the political spectrum from the N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence to the conservative
The bill goes back to the
As Machiavellian as that sounds, each side decides what is important to them and how to achieve that goal without crossing the imaginary line into unwanted territory.
This is the time of year a degree in psychology is helpful, as well as tennis shoes and an extra pair of glasses to follow the bouncing balls.
Let the games begin.
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Medicaid Expansion: Key elements of the state's
In a letter to the committee, Health and Human Services Commissioner
Some of the newly eligible will go onto the state's
Also, the state will need to provide additional benefits to some who qualify for the Health Insurance Premium Payment program because some insurance policies offered by their employers do not include the essential benefits.
The information contained in requests for waivers or state plan changes to the federal
The information also indicates department officials believe the state can qualify for
Much of the state money to be matched would come from
County matching funds are all from correctional facilities. Those for cities and towns are from health care and administration costs.
The waiver was first proposed by hospitals as a way for the state to recoup costs the state is eligible for but are not included in the state's
Estimates have run from
Along with the waivers and state plan amendments, the committee will also be asked to approve Gov.
That is a contrast, expanding state health care programs while freezing state spending.
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Small Turnout: The House on Thursday did not have a working quorum when the day began at the early
With 10 vacancies, the House needs 258 representatives present to have a working quorum which means a simple majority decides whether a bill passes, killed or tabled.
Without a working quorum, every action requires a two-thirds majority which means the minority rules.
Word went out and enough members eventually showed up so the abortion buffer zone bill could be approved by a simple majority and not two-thirds majority, which would have doomed the bill.
Later in the day the numbers fell again but it just squeaked through on a majority vote 162-100.
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Representative's Talent: Singing the national anthem before the House session is a shared responsibility in that representatives are often tapped to lead the singing.
One day last week,
Cormier, in an obviously trained operatic voice, quieted Reps Hall and drew prolonged applause after her rendition.
Cormier lists her occupation as a music performer and teacher in the legislative Blue Book.
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